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Four National Security Experts Discuss Critical Technologies at OODAcon

In October 2020 the administration released the National Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technologies, which outlines how the United States will promote and protect our competitive edge in fields such as artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing technology, biotechnologies, distributed ledger technologies, energy, quantum information science, communications and networking technologies, semiconductors, military and space technologies.

This type of strategy has been a long time coming. The build up to its release was coincident with a decades long awakening to the nature of unfair practices by countries like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea. These and a few other closed societies have developed well resourced efforts to steal technology and then use it to serve both their military and economic interests. China has been especially adroit at these methods and has also been skilled at finding ways to coerce companies into handing over intellectual property, undercutting free and fair markets, and leveraging other elements of their national power to create unfair conditions for mutually beneficial trade and partnering.

Now more than ever, policy makers and decision makers in government, industry and academia, as well as informed citizens, need to understand the nature of the threat from these nations and the role we can all play in mitigating these challenges.

This panel of experts at OODAcon lead a thoughtful discussion on industrial policy that resulted in insights that can inform broad action in improving American innovation while protecting it for the use of open societies.

The panel included discussion on:

  • How past bad policy decisions did nothing to prevent major intellectual property theft and the impact of that (the loss of Lucent, Nortel and all major North American telecom manufacturing capabilities, for example)
  • The role of government in an economy where leadership in critical technologies is from the free enterprise system vice centrally directed.
  • Finding balance in regulations, especially regulations meant to improve security. What government efforts in security have worked in the past? Which have not?
  • The need to built, protect and use American private intellectual property, including the need for government agencies to stop competing with the commercial sector (how to buy more COTS and build less GOTS, for example)


  • Bob Gourley, CTO, OODA LLC


  • Matthew Turpin, Senior Advisor, Palantir, and former Director in the National Security Council
  • Melissa Flagg, Senior Fellow at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology
  • James N. Miller, President, Adaptive Strategies, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy


Additional Resources:

OODAcon Online: Initial Report

Mitigating Cyber Risks: Four real world practitioners exchange views at OODAcon

Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of OODA LLC, the technology research and advisory firm with a focus on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity which publishes Bob is the co-host of the popular podcast The OODAcast. Bob has been an advisor to dozens of successful high tech startups and has conducted enterprise cybersecurity assessments for businesses in multiple sectors of the economy. He was a career Naval Intelligence Officer and is the former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Find Bob on Defcon.Social